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“Tina,” the new HBO documentary from filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, premieres Saturday, which means Tina Turner is back in the limelight where she rightfully belongs. The superstar opened up like never before in the film, which re-frames her career in a way that will appeal to generations of fans.
The documentary plays as a final act in an illustrious career filled with peaks and valleys. The music icon first rose to prominence through her collaboration with ex-husband Ike Turner, a partnership that produced “River Deep, Mountain High,” “Nutbush City Limit,” and her Grammy-winning cover “Proud Mary.” But when Ike’s years of abuse and noted drug addictions brought their romantic and professional partnership to an end, some people thought Tina’s career was finished. In reality, she was just getting started.
After lying low for a few years, the 1980s saw Tina’s roaring return to music. In 1984 she released “Private Dancer,” a chart-topping, Grammy-sweeping blockbuster of an album that included the smash hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” She was officially back, and rode the subsequent career renaissance to bona fide superstardom. More successful albums and sold-out tours followed, but Tina has worked in a variety of other mediums as well. In between all the music, she found the time to write three books, star in multiple movies, and adapt her life into a Broadway jukebox musical. Now, she can add a documentary to the list.
Around the time of her 80th birthday, the superstar decided it was time to reveal everything. She collaborated with Lindsay and Martin on “Tina,” which sets the record straight about her extremely public life and career. For someone with so much musical talent who produced so many hits, many music fans have questioned whether she gets enough recognition. Most music lovers past a certain age likely know her name, but some feel like a place in the rock-‘n’-roll stratosphere has evaded her.
After all, many fans view Tina as far more than just a rock star. She’s an inspirational figure whose story has taken on a larger-than-life quality, an all-American rags to riches tale that connects to every kind of dreamer. The setbacks she faced through the tumultuous end of her marriage and her reemergence as a solo artist truly standing on her own make her an inspiration to many. And the fact that she remains a beacon of positivity, despite her fame, is a nod to her down-to-earth quality. Tina has earned her success, but it never went to her head.
The release of the documentary coincides with the one-year anniversary of her Broadway musical of the same name being forced to shutter due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a great example of something good coming from the remains of a terrible situation, as well as an opportunity to revisit her legacy.
“Tina” premieres on HBO at 8 p.m. ET, but you can also stream it on HBO Max. Not subscribed? For $14.99 a month, the streaming service lets you watch a massive library of film and TV content, including loads of other music documentaries. It also allows you to watch new Warner Bros. movies from home on the same day that they’re released in theaters. Many of her films can also be streamed on Amazon Prime, which grants you access to Amazon’s seemingly endless Prime Video library for $12.99 a month, in addition to plenty of other great benefits like free two-day shipping. Between the two services, you can fill the whole weekend with Tina content!
If the film, which debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival to rave reviews, leaves you wanting more Tina, you’re not alone. Her three memoirs (one of which was adapted into the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It” ) provide deeper insight into her life, and there’s no shortage of great albums that are worth owning on vinyl. See below for a roundup of some of the best books, records, and more to keep your Tina Turner educational journey rolling smoothly.
Leave it to Tina Turner to release a book about finding happiness in a year like 2020, when that advice was desperately needed by just about everyone. She reflects on her life in terms of her soaring highs and crushing lows, and explains how she found peace through principles of Buddhism. This book is a great read for anyone looking to improve the way they look at things, even if they’ve never heard one of Tina’s songs. (And if you haven’t, it’s certainly time to rectify that.)
“Simply the Best” is the name of Tina’s greatest hits album, as well as a sentence often used by music fans to describe her. She recorded so many hits in so many different decades that it’s hard to fit them all on one album, but this compilation makes a noble attempt. If you liked what you heard in the movie, buying this on vinyl is a logical next step.
“Tina Turner: That’s My Life” tells the superstar’s life story in pictures, documenting her iconic looks from over the years as well as raiding her personal archives for never-before-seen shots. Featuring handwritten comments from Tina herself, this book belongs on the coffee table of any music fan who has ever found themselves whistling “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
Tina Turner’s legacy cannot be understood without exploring her unparalleled abilities as a live performer. While she retired from performing after her 50th anniversary tour in 2009, this concert film is a worthy tribute. It features a 2000 concert at Wembley Stadium and provides ample reasons for why she’s one of a kind. Tina was four decades into her career at the time and her energy was absolutely electric as she brought her classic songs to life.
The record that kicked off the second phase of Tina’s career is an essential piece of music history, as well as an album that still holds up today. Best known for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the multi-platinum album saw Tina breaking away from her bluesy roots and pursuing ’80s pop perfection. Through gorgeous ballads and uptempo pop, the record showcases her impressive range as a performer and won four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
If documentaries aren’t exactly your thing, how about a biopic? This 1993 movie stars Angela Bassett as Tina and tells the story of her journey from extremely humble beginnings to international superstardom. The only problem with the film is that Tina did a lot of living between 1994 and now, so it doesn’t begin to capture all of her accomplishments! But any fan of Tina, or music in general, will find that it’s worth a watch.
Before there was “Tina” on HBO, this autobiography was the definitive account of her incredible life. Written by Tina herself, the book contains none of the fluff and name-dropping often found in rock-‘n’-roll memoirs, instead focusing on her incredible rise, fall, and reemergence. Tina’s thoughts on her fascinating career reveal a level of depth and introspection that makes it easy to understand why she is one of the biggest stars of her generation.